Good Grief. Is there any such thing?
Lucy says it all the time. "Good Grief, Charlie Brown."
No grief. No call that was never supposed to come, and certainly not come today. The call that doesn't break your heart, but kills a part of it and shuts you down like a burned out light bulb.
The call that makes you crazy.
After the call, Stephanie and I wrote 220,000 words in three months with no plot, precious little conflict, but plenty of good times. I look back at it and see that it was pretty good writing, good characters, and funny dialogue. But no plot. Also, there were pages and pages of description of epic Tolkienian proportions.
Except Tolkien didn't describe bedrooms, cars, shoes, jewelry, laptop cases, silver flatware, demitasse cup, Christmas china, jewelry store windows, jack-o-lantern faces, flower arrangements, cheesecakes, counter tops, and clothes, clothes, clothes.
We knew better. What were we thinking?
Not about the call. That was for sure. And I guess that was the point, though we didn't think so at the time.
I think those 220,000 words made our voice grow up. The voice was there but it was a little squeaky, a little scratchy, a little hesitant. It's odd what you're willing to put on piece of paper when you just don't give a damn. And maybe you have to not give a damn to let your voice come into being.
I don't think anyone knew we were crazy at the time. Why would they have? We ironed our skirts, put on our makeup, and cleaned our toilets. Not in that order. That order would have pointed to crazy.
Does it ever go away? The answer eludes me. Just when you think you've licked it, you have to throw away a pair of shoes and you're right back where you started.
The shoes I threw away today were pink house shoes with a band of sparkly beads and sequins. They had to go. The bottoms were disintegrating and I knew if I kept them, I'd keep wearing them, keep leaving little pieces of plastic sole all over the house. Probably, they would eventually cause me to trip and fall, probably right at the stop of the stairs.
Can't have that.
It was time for them to go. I bought them the summer Stephanie, The Guy, Oldest friend, and I went to New Orleans to meet David. It was June after Karina. I didn't buy the shoes to impress David. I bought them to impress myself and I liked looking at the sparkles. Besides, I wasn't in the business of impressing David. If I had been, it would have taken a hell of a lot more than a pair of twenty dollar house shoes, even if they did sparkle.
I didn't need to impress David because he loved me. He didn't need to impress me either but he never stopped trying.
David was a great gift giver and he understood my tastes perfectly. He gave me so many things. Rare books, fine crystal, sterling silver, hand carved boxes, and even a custom made piece of jewelry once. But he also gave me more mundane things like BBC series DVDs, cooking accouterments, and country CDs. I think he gave me the CDs because we were the only two in the tightest part of our inner circle who embraced the genre.
He gave Stephanie things too. That's her story.
But for certain, he gave us the refinement of our voice.
I'd trade it all for one more hour.